The Best Shortbread Ever

Posted on: March 12th, 2009 by admin 3 Comments

One Scottish recipe says there are as many recipes for shortbread as grains of sand on the seashore. Here at eatpress we’ve been trying to perfect shortbread for a while now. It gets its name from the fact that these cookies are very “short” or rich in butter. It is delicious most of the time, but trying to get the perfect consistency and taste has proved more difficult than you might imagine.

Generally the recipe is very simple. We like a dense shortbread that breaks nicely and has a firm crumble. There has been much debate as to whether they should be made with a hint of lemon, with a little vanilla or with almond essence. Truthfully all are delicious! Here’s the recipe that we like best, from the book Favourite Teatime Recipes, by Carole Gregory.



  • 125 g (4.4 oz) butter, room temp
  • 55g (just under 1/3 c) caster sugar
  • 180g (1 3/4 c) flour
  • 1 tsp lemon zest OR vanilla(optional)

Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF).

Beat the butter and sugar together and stir in the flour. Knead gently. Wrap the dough in cling-wrap or in a sealed container and refrigerate for about 20 min. (This isn’t essential, if you have no time, but we are aiming for perfection here!)

Form the dough into a long rounded flat log, then with a sharp knife slice the log into 2cm (about 1/2 inch) thick cookies and place them about 1 inch apart on a greased oven tray. You can prick the surface of the cookies with a fork a few times for a traditional look. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until just golden.

Cinnamon Nutmeg Shortbread

This spicy cookie is a fragrant spin on the Scottish staple. These cookies are seriously delicious, we have made constant batches since discovering the recipe, just so there is an undying supply ready at any time they are that good.

  • 1 c unsalted softened butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and grease a baking tray.

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars together, mix in the vanilla. In a small bowl mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Slowly blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well mixed. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 2cm thick (1/2in). Using a knife score ‘break’ lines down and across the rectangle, making cookies the size you want. Bake for 17-22 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely, then break at the score lines. Store in an airtight container or freeze.

Ok so if you’re a pro at shortbread in general and you do feel like trying a new flavor here are some ideas for ingredients: vanilla, cardamom, parmesan, any nuts (whole or ground), almond essence, lavender, chunks of chocolate and/or cocoa powder, coffee, tea, any citrus, pepper. Try anything, the first recipe is a basic one and a teaspoon of any particular flavor will work!

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3 Responses

  1. Kate says:

    I couldn’t think of a time-saving tip to include in that other post but a good tip for shortbread that I found is to use some rice flour in the mix. It gives it a nice crisp texture…

  2. admin says:

    I’ve heard of adding cornflour, but rice flour is genius!

  3. Peggy says:

    I’ve made shortbread crusts, but I don’t think I’ve ever just made plain ol’ shortbread cookies. These sound fabulous =)

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